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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: May 11, 2011 12:39pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: touch heads

I always hated the term because I actually loved "Touch of Grey" as far as the shorter, up-tempo Jerry tunes went (not as good as "Bertha", little bit better than "Alabama Getaway", but the same general class of tune). Nothing I wanted to hear as a show closer, mind you, but fine in the first set. Then it became a hit (along with In the Dark, the album that spawned it) and soon inexorably linked to a certain type of rowdy, obnoxious, there-for-the-party "fan" that had been trickling into the scene for a few years (see Richmond '85, which was largely blamed on the police but trust me, the crowd did their share), but began showing up by the tens of thousands starting around 1987.

As the other responders have noted, what you started to see then was a real change in the expectations of the crowd. People were showing up for the party whether they had tickets or not; some didn't even seem to care about seeing the show as long as they got their hands on some good drugs. The idea seemed to be that a Dead show was a hedonistic free for all first and a musical event second. Gate crashing, vandalism, clashes with police- these things weren't new to rock and roll concerts, but they'd never been been a noticeable part of the Dead's scene up until this point, and Deadheads had a reputation as a slightly weird but basically docile crowd. By the early 90s, though, the word was out among municipalities that had previously welcomed the band: don't book them; the income isn't worth the hassle.

One thing that that sometimes gets lost in the discussion about that period is that, at least in the beginning, the band was most willing to exploit their newfound popularity, with a new emphasis placed on moving the Grateful Dead brand in the marketplace. Videos, better merchandising...by early '88 GD music and images were everywhere. Garica indicated as much when he said "We've been willing to sell out on some levels for some time, but nobody's been buying." Later, when the negative pressure brought by this success became more obvious, they did try to take steps to relieve it somewhat, but by then it was largely too late.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: May 11, 2011 3:56pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: touch heads

It was definitely a double edged sword for the band, for the first time in a long time they were financially above water . And, outsiders for not, it must have nice to get a little respect . It was nice when they could sell enough seats that they could do 3 night instead of 1 , that was tripple the fun for me ! But it did bring all the problems stated in the other posts . The problems that beset the bigger shows, were not unique to the Dead, note all the recency complaining about rude/noisy/stupid crowd behavior , So some of it , I think, had to do with the "Mega-Dead" period, ( and the popular conception :Grateful Dead = excess , translated "let's get as trashed as we can, and by the way , fuck you " ) and part of it is social devolution .

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: May 11, 2011 4:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: touch heads

" By the early 90s, though, the word was out among municipalities that had previously welcomed the band: don't book them; the income isn't worth the hassle."

I remember going into a store a few days after a late 80's run at Irvine Meadows , and hearing a cop talk disparaging about the Dead and the crowd and at these shows .
And what really pissed me off was ,he was right ! I had seem a lot of stupid and destructive behavior that weekend . And there was nothing I could have said to the smart assed cop . I was angry , and embarrassed .

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Poster: fenario80 Date: May 11, 2011 6:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: touch heads

Sober as a judge, I walked up to a group of cops outside of Irvine after one of those late-80's atrocities, thanked them all for being there, and told them they ought to be pissed at the people who organized the show, and not at the crowd.

The freeway was under contruction, so were half the parking lots, and - worst of all - there weren't nearly enough site security to process the crowd at the door (I missed half the first set waiting in line to get in).

Of course the next day I read about the gate-crashers - and the exquisite morons who got themselves lost and accidentally broke into Lion Country Safari next door.

I have to give those cops extra credit for not kicking my self-righteous ass and locking me up for the night.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: May 12, 2011 7:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: touch heads

Oh yeah, the Irvine Meadows folk deserve blame for the troubles .
The parking was and is a problem . Just getting in , was always a hassle: we used to say we would rather they play Long Beach, ( we were the San Juan Capistrano area, a short distance, from Irvine, but we figured it would be quicker to drive all the way to Long Beach, because we wouldn't spend hours trying to get in !) The real nightmare year was when they had the concerts the same time as the EL Toro Marine base had an air show .
I remember one time driving into the lot and some kids are holding up a box of cereal, yelling "dosed Grapenuts, dosed Grapenuts ", funny, but stupid also .

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